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Leicester City's Danny Simpson given curfew after community service is revoked

Published 12/05/2016

Leicester City's Danny Simpson had only done half of the 300 hours of unpaid work he was sentenced to last June
Leicester City's Danny Simpson had only done half of the 300 hours of unpaid work he was sentenced to last June

Premier League winner Danny Simpson has been handed a curfew order after the community service sentence he received for throttling his ex-girlfriend was revoked due to press intrusion.

Simpson, 29, a defender with Leicester City, had only done half of the 300 hours of unpaid work he was sentenced to last June for assaulting Stephanie Ward, the mother of his child, in a row at their house in Worsley, Greater Manchester, in December 2014.

His lawyer Gary Ryan told a district judge at Manchester Magistrates' Court he was applying to have the community order revoked and asked that the millionaire footballer instead pay a fine.

Mr Ryan said the press had twice discovered where Simpson had been doing his unpaid work in the community and this had made it impossible for him to complete the work.

Simpson's lawyer also said a curfew would be "unfair and unjust" as he has work commitments with his team in next season's Champions League competition and various games involving Barcelona and Paris St Germain over the summer.

But District Judge Alexandra Simmonds said while press intrusion was to blame for Simpson not completing the unpaid work, given the footballer's financial position, substituting a fine would be "no punishment".

The judge said Simpson's sentence for assaulting his ex-partner was "richly-deserved punishment" and there must still be a restriction of liberty by the imposition of a curfew.

Simpson shook his head as his original sentence was revoked and he was handed the curfew order instead.

The judge ordered he must stay indoors at his home address between the hours of 10pm and 6am for the next 21 days. He will be electronically monitored and must wear a tag on his ankle at the house in Swinton, Salford.

If he breaches the curfew he could be brought back to court.

At this point Simpson's solicitor asked if he could take more instructions and come back into court later to address the judge again about his sentence.

Simpson had been convicted of assault after a police officer called to his house found him sat on top of his ex with his hands around her neck, on the evening of December 29 2014.

He denied the offence but was found guilty after a trial. He indicated he would appeal his conviction but later this was dropped.

Simpson was sentenced to 300 hours unpaid work on June 15 last year and has completed 145 hours to date.

Earlier Mr Ryan told the court that press reporting had twice forced Simpson to abandon the placements he was at to complete the unpaid work order.

Simpson first begun working in an Age UK charity shop in Eccles, parking his £200,000 Lamborghini round the corner.

This work placement then attracted press attention and photographers, Mr Ryan said.

Purple Futures, a contracted out, privately-run community rehabilitation company handling Simpson's probation, then suspended that placement as "no longer suitable or viable", Mr Ryan told the court.

Simpson was then placed working at the HQ of Purple Futures, working with people with learning difficulties, doing eight hours a week, four hours each on Mondays and Thursdays, which had a "positive and humbling" effect on the defendant, Mr Ryan said.

But again the press found out where he was, the court heard, and reporters interviewed other offenders doing work alongside Simpson.

Mr Ryan said no suitable alternative placement could be found.

"For no fault of his own he can't serve the sentence that the court imposed upon him," he said.

He added that a curfew would effect his work as a professional footballer and due to the "recent success of his football team" he would be travelling to the US and Stockholm to play PSG and Barcelona and in the Champions League.

And he said Simpson would also have other commitments, "not just social events", but functions to attend such as community, charity and exhibition events through his job.

It was suggested to the court that Simpson's life as a highly paid footballer was a gilded cage where time was not his own, after his lawyer returned to court.

Mr Ryan said a curfew order, imposed by the judge and starting today, would be even more "onerous" for Simpson than the original unpaid work sentence.

He said Simpson had more work commitments in the next 10 days, including end of season parades and functions with the rest of his team which were not to be regarded as "a jolly for the players", Mr Ryan told the judge.

He said Simpson, despite being a footballer, was also "only an employee" and "at the beck and call" of his club.

He said the defendant is expected to travel to London with his teammates on Saturday ahead of their last game with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

There was then a function planned in a hotel in London and a further function on Monday which Mr Ryan did not disclose the details of in open court and instead wrote the details down and passed to the judge.

On Monday Simpson is expected to be on the open-top bus Champions parade in Leicester and the next day fly out to Thailand with the club's owners.

Mr Ryan said again this was "not a jolly up" for the players but an opportunity for the club's Thai owners to expand their commercial opportunities.

And he said Simpson simply did not know what his ongoing commitments would be.

He added: "This is an extraordinary set of events during the past weeks. Nobody expected this team to win, against all the odds, it's been described as a fairytale.

"He may be a professional footballer but he's only an employee, he has no control over what events are organised.

"It's not like people imagine. He has very little time for himself, he's at the beck and call of the club."

The hearing was adjourned until 2pm.

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